I love advent! With glimmers of light, we joyfully waiting in darkness, finding hope in the many glimmers of light. We have confidence that the light of the world is about to dawn and bring peace, love and comfort to us all.
The Jesse tree tells the story of God’s saving love
In the scripture readings at Mass during Advent, we re-live the glimmers of hope that have been sent through out the history of the world – the events which led up to and foretold the coming of Christ and salvation for all. A Jesse tree is a great way to celebrate and learn this huge story which is often times called, “Salvation History”.
From Creation to Christ
The Jesse Tree is a little bit like an Advent calendar – for kids (and adults), it is a count down to Christmas. Only this is a much more robust count down than just windows with chocolate. In this “count down”, we tell a story each day, beginning with God’s creation of the world, through the fall of mankind, into Noah’s ark, through the slavery of Egypt, to the glory of king David, the warnings of the prophets, the overtake of foreign powers, and finally to a little stable where God himself is born as a babe.
There is no official list of the readings or symbols for each day. The idea is that with your family, you slowly tell this enormous story. A Children’s bible with pictures is very helpful to use as readings for each day.
What is the tree?
Your tree can be a regular Christmas tree which begins bare and slowly gathers more ornaments. My family uses a 3 foot artificial tree with lights on it. I have also seen people use a plain branch without any leaves or needles – put upright as a tree. If you use this way, the ornaments stand out more.
Make Your Own Ornaments
The ornament for each day usually has a symbol of a person or a key event. You can make your own ornaments and hang one on a tree each day in December. These coloring pages are a good starting place. But you can find tons of ideas for a Jesse tree on Pinterest.
Not Just for Kids
By the way, if you are young enough for a Christmas tree, you are young enough for remembering the story of God’s salvation. Sometimes we adults need those little ones to teach us what is most important in life. Let’s hold fast to those beautiful wonder-filled ways and enter into the true meaning of Christmas with the Jesse Tree.
I hope you have fun with this year and have a happy Advent!